This is Superjerm’s account of what happened at the canoe race we did on Sunday…..with some of my comments in blue!

In preparation for our dusi mission next year, Lou and I decided we had better get some river practice done. Sunday was an easy race on the Umkomaas which is a powerful and poetically dangerous river although the section we were doing was pretty easy…or so we thought…..

So it started off well, we lined up a driver, arrived on time, remembered all our kit – too well in fact!

So we managed to sneak up to B batch because of our “connections” instead of E batch where we belonged due to our lack of grading – we hadn’t done a river race in 3 years or so.

Our batch got called and we headed down to the river, clambering down a steep rocky boulder bank we stopped at the waters edge where I promptly slipped on the mud and landed flat on my ass, “damn., forgot how slippery that bloody river mud is!” Quick check to see no one saw and hopped up and tried to step back onto the bank but by now by foot was caught in my splash cover.

Lou was howling with laughter at my ungraceful behaviour! I got up and gave her a glare and promptly slipped on the mud again and landed back onto my already throbbing ass! That escalated Lou’s laughing fit and by that time I started to see a slight glimmer of humour in the situation! It was freakin hysterical, I’m sorry!

So the gun went and we were off – a little wobbly through the first few rapids trying to avoid the all other boats around us and to get to the largest rapid of the day in one piece. “We better get past these clowns and into the rapid first” I whisper to Lou.

We pass them easily and have a nice clean line ahead of us down the rapid, we just need to negotiate a tiny rock filter to line up and bounce down the big wavy rapid. Then the unimaginable happens, we clip an underwater rock on the side of the boat and next thing we know we’re in the drink! oh and my shoulder popped out of it’s joint which was lovely.

“I don’t believe it, I muttered to my self!” So now it’s salvage time. It’s a proverbial yard sale with paddles, boats, hats, bits of polystyrene and various of our possessions about to be sucked down the rapid!

The water is flowing too fast to get to the side so we brace for the bumpy swim down the rapid. I push the boat away, shout at Lou to get into the cocktail position (will explain that another day) and brace ourselves for a rock bashing! Cocktail position – like you are floating in the pool with a cocktail in one hand, the main point being that your feet are up to avoid them getting trapped in rocks!

I’m swallowing water by the mouthful which isn’t great because I’m already quite full from having swallowed my pride.  After our thorough wash and rinse cycle, we drag our sorry and bruised carcasses onto the river bank whilst some kind soul salvages our boat.

On inspection we see our boat has sustained some serious damage but being as cocky as we were, we didn’t pack any repair tape! Epic fail! Lou also lost her paddle which meant she did a balancing trick all the way to the finish, all the while holding the seams of the boat together whilst I paddled! A great way to see the scenery! I should lose my paddle more often!

We managed to float, swim, walk to the finish but we managed to stay in good humour and whilst scrambling over the slippery rocks and fighting through the reeds it dawned on me and I had to chuckle……..

After 17 odd Dusis people would ask me why I didn’t do anymore to which I would answer, ” I just got bored of it really, I had the most fun when I was a beginner, every rapid you survived was a major excitement, I wish I could forget everything I had learned over the years and start off as a beginner again!”

I had to laugh because doing that race was like being a beginner all over again!

Be  careful what you wish for!


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